As an elder law lawyer in in East Greenwich, RI, from a firm like McCarthy Law, LLC can explain, one of the smartest things a person can do is create a will. For those who already have a will established, they may believe they have nothing to worry about. For elderly people who have not created a will yet, things can be especially tricky.
However, just because someone may already have a will written does not mean that things cannot become complicated. Especially for elderly people, there is a possibility that someone may attempt to change their will or influence them as they create their will.
If you are worried one of these situations has happened to your loved one, you are not alone. This is a type of elder abuse, and the right lawyers will work hard to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. When someone takes advantage of your loved one who is particularly vulnerable due to age, your lawyer can help.
What does undue influence mean?
You may be in a situation where you are unsure if any law has been broken. If your parent or grandparent creates a will at the last minute or changes their will without notifying anyone, this does not necessarily mean something fishy has occurred. If they have a nurse who has cared for them or a loved one who has turned up who recently had no contact with them who is now added to the will, you may find this suspicious but may also be unsure of whether this is illegal.
When you do not find out about these changes until after your loved one has passed away, this is a very obvious red flag. Someone who encouraged your loved one to make changes to their will may do everything in their power to ensure that you and others in the family do not find out about it until the will is read. In fact, in addition to their abuse of undue influence, this person may even use other tactics to ensure your loved one does not tell anyone about the changes, including using emotional or physical abuse to stop them.
Common examples of undue influence or ways that it could occur are:
- Your loved one was particularly sick or frail before they passed away;
- Your loved one became dependent on a particular person, whether a nurse or a relative who had not been there for them before who had power over them;
- Your loved one suddenly left money, property, or other valuables to this person and no one else in the family expected it. In these circumstances, other family members were likely left out.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, it is highly possible that someone stepped in to make sure your loved one left them assets in their will. If this is the case, please reach out to an elder law lawyer today.